From Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Following the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and the subsequent lockdown order by the Delta State government, persons consisting of adult males and females have taken over ATM Centers in Asaba, Abraka and Ughelli towns to beg for alms from bank customers who come for cash withdrawals.
It was gathered that these beggars often well dressed, are seen around unsuspecting customers as most cases they join the queues as if they want to make cash withdrawals only to beg for money from selected persons.
Investigation in Asaba revealed that these beggars have no shame as they usually target persons who look well to do as part of their antics to gain financial favour with sympathy appearance and are armed with nylon bags containing food items such as rice, beans or garri begging aloud that since the lockdown they have not been feeding well especially as unemployed Deltans and residents.
For the females, further investigation revealed that they offer themselves to any available men with GSM contacts after collecting money from their targets to ensure their feeding while they disappear into the thin air.
Some customers who spoke to journalists in Asaba on condition of anonymity described the situation as pathetic adding that,” We have been embarrassed by these corporate beggars at the ATM machines, they are educated but they claimed to be unemployed, have no money to feed because of the lockdown order, the situation is really unfair and unfortunate.”
At Eco bank ATM Center by FMC Asaba, the corporate beggars were seen milling around the customers who were at the center to withdraw cash as they shameless demand” Bros hunger dey, please give us something to feed, Okowa no dey look our direction and we are hungry terribly, we are graduates but no Job and there is lockdown order, how do we feed ourselves and others”?
Asked if don’t have relations, these beggars will scream” relations at this coronavirus pandemic era, nobody wants to help, we want money to buy food items and eat hence we are the banks’ ATM machines to ask for survival.”
But the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya who confirmed this incident, said that the police have been drafted to ATM Machine Centers to monitor the beggars who may hide under begging to rob, adding that no arrest has been made but warned that the police will henceforth arrest anybody who have no business at the ATM Centers and be charged to court
Apart from the corporate beggars found around ATM machines, youths are found around desolated markets searching for dumped Akpu ( Fufun ) for their parents to re-prepare for their meals as they are ubiquitous around summit road, Ezeni avenue among others.
Some of the beggars who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity said,” we don’t have any money because we are not working, instead we be begging until the lockdown order is over and we will resume our daily bread in the market, but. for now nothing for us and we want to feed instead of doing Ashawo in the streets, and police will be pursuing us ups and down , we are not ashamed at all.”